Our maid’s education!

I’ve known for awhile now that our helper (Mel) has a hard time reading and understanding what she does read. I’m trying to observe her without her knowing, I don’t want to embarrass her. My nieces told me that they are helping Mel on how to read during night time before she goes to bed. They also help her try to understand what the story she’s reading is all about. I was shocked of how little knowledge she had of everything. It’s just heartbreaking that she didn’t have much schooling. How could she get ahead in life without some knowledge.


A week or so ago I was at our kitchen cooking. I was asking Mel about her baby and how old is her baby now? She told me that her little one is turning 1 year old soon. I then remembered hearing from my nieces that Mel had a hard time on understanding reading with just simple books. It just hit me to let her say the months of the year for me, it was just me and her in the kitchen anyway. My mouth just drop when she can’t even tell me the months of the year in proper order. I asked her of what year  she finished up in her education? What grade level is she? She told me that she was in the middle of her freshman year when she quit school. I told her, I wanted her to try to study with the kids during night time. I am going to give her reading books for grade school level (lower level really like 3rd grade). I’m not trying to be mean to Mel, I just wanted for her to learn a little at a time. She showed some interest in cooking with me in the kitchen. She wants to learn how to cook Western foods. She likes making dessert too. So for now she’s learning the names of the ingredients and the names of  the utensils/tools in the kitchen. She has to learn the measurements too. Really almost everything in the kitchen are new to her. It’s fun and challenging on teaching her. My patience is tested sometimes. :-)

I asked Mel why is it that she didn’t know a lot about schooling? How did she get to freshman with the little knowledge she had. Just by listening to her, her grade level should be in the early grade school level. She told me that when she went to school, she’s mostly absent from the class. Reason she said was that they don’t have money for food everyday and for her projects. So she decided to quit and just work part time as a waitress. The money can’t really sustain because she’s also paying for her boarding house and food and gave some to her parents. While working she found a guy who frequently went to the restaurant where she worked and they dated and he made her pregnant. The parents were really devastated with that. So for now the parents let Mel work while they take care of the baby. They’ve been really good about it, even her brother helped her out with the expenses of the baby. They asked the father of the baby, I think he is giving if he can. He is out of a job now.

Mel wants to go back to school later to finish up even just high school. That’s one thing my nieces like about Mel, she really is willing to learn. She’s kind of slow but at least she shows them the willingness to learn from them. My niece Bebe made flash cards to help Mel out with the words and meanings, just simple basic words. I would really be happy if in a year or so Mel can fully help me out in the kitchen with no supervision. Her parents will be so happy too. Hopefully she can do it. We will try to help her out on that.

I know we have lots of people like Mel here in the Philippines. Sad part they are going to be married young and the cycle keeps going on and on. It never stops. Hope later on they will learn some lessons.


Post Author: Feyma (353 Posts)

Feyma Martin is a Columnist here on the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine, she is the wife of site Publisher, Bob Martin. Feyma is originally from the Philippines, but went to the USA for 10 years after marrying Bob in 1990. Bob & Feyma moved to the Philippines to live permanently in 2000.

How to Move to the Philippines Manual


    • says

      Hi Jason – That so true… We did our part for her, up to her to apply to herself.

      Thank you for the nice thoughts.

      Good to see you here again. Have a great day!

    • says

      Hi Rich321 (Rich Bowen) – Thank you so much. Yeah, hopefully she will stay here for a long time to learn and maybe study in school. The kids really are helpful to Mel. I’m happy seeing them help someone.

      Happy to see you here as always. Thank you for stopping by!


  1. Bob New York says

    With the help from your nieces, as you have mentioned, plus I would imagine she is learning many things from working at ” The Martins ” I think as a way of gratitude, Mel may have more initiative to learn as much as those who are helping her, wish to teach her. It is so unfortunate there are so many similar situations there in the Philippines. We have them here too but not as prevalent as things like this seem there. You and your family seem always so helpful to the less fortunate.

    • says

      Hi Bob New York – Thank you so much for the kind words bob. I really appreciate very much. I’m hoping that everything that we taught her, she will apply later in her life. I hope that her daughter will not go the same path as Mel have gone through. Not a good path to be in.

      It is sad really seeing too many young mom’s here gone through the same direction. Some were just lucky to have the support of the parents and family. Some were not so lucky.

      Thank you again for the nice comment.

      Take care & God bless!

  2. lolo56 says

    Hope you be bless for your free help to your helper. I think from internet you might find some exercices that can help her…

    I know you are doing your best and all of that with love . I am sure she is in good hand she just need to be confident in herself and we all know she is in the best hand… Better do little step by little step and one day you will see her knowing and more. Perseverance is the key of succes….I know you both have it.

    be bless and one day she will be thankfull for your help…

    She should come here and tell us her daily life whne she was young it might just help us to understand more about their life.

    Thanks for the topic.

    • says

      Hi lolo56 – Thank you for your advice. I can get good info about teaching Mel from a teacher here in Davao, she’s a good friend and willing to help out too.

      We are teaching her a little bit at a time. We don’t want to overwhelmed her.

      I might have to have an interview with her one day and post it here.

      Thank you so much for stopping by!

  3. PapaDuck says

    Mrs Feyma,

    You and your nieces should be commended for helping Mel with her education. She will be just fine because it sounds like she has the will and motivation to want to learn and she is also in a good situation. Please keep us updated on her progress. I’m interested how she does. Take care and have a nice day.

    • says

      Hi PapaDuck – Thank you so much for your nice thoughts. I’m really grateful with guys positive thoughts.

      I will post more about her progress later.

      As always good to see you again here, and many fro the good advice.


  4. Mark G. says

    Feyma, as usual you go out of your way to help another. God bless you for your kindness. You and Bob are truly examples for us all.
    Mark G.

    • says

      Hi Mark G. – Thank you so much for your kind words. I am really touched by it. Highly appreciated.

      Really nice to see you here. Take care!

  5. peterjoy says

    Hi fayma
    itis so sad story mate and how kids in how day sill dont know how to read or write well buti know what it is like as all i spent at hight school was 18 mouths and for me it was so hard to spell and under stand computers but now u can do a lot more and i did be for and for the computers i did sit down and work it out for my self i did not go back to school to do it no if u have time on ur hands like i do at this time u can do a lot if u put ur mind too it and i know she will do the same for her self as she must not just for her self but for her baby it is going to be hard for a time but she will make it.For me it was hard for i was hit by a car when i was just 8 years old and had a bad tape on the head so ever afer that it was hard for me to keep what some one was telling me in my head and for years i had ppl tell em i cannot do this and that but a here i am been married over 12 years all up and can still walk and talk thanks to god i am fit and well so i am happy…. and in love with a sweet and lvoing filipina girl…..god bless u all…….peter martin tassie

    • says

      Hi peterjoy – Good story there mate. That’s the thing we have good technology now, and with the internet everything you know just on your fingertip. You don’t have to carry Mr. Webster dictionary to school, nowadays you can google everything on the phone.

      I’m glad you found the right woman for you. Hope you retire in the PI soon too.

      Have a good day to you mate!

  6. Marilou says

    Hi Feyma – Like you I’m an advocate for education. I deliberately hire working students rather than full-time helpers. I want them to get further education so that they don’t have to be helpers forever. When they graduate they can better themselves and pay it forward – meaning it will be their turn to help their brothers/sisters get an education too. When we moved back to live in Talakag in 2008, we hired Angel a college student. We are proud to announce that she graduates tomorrow with a BS Financial Management degree. Although we will be sorry to see her leave us, we are very happy for her and wish her the best. We did explain to her that it’s now time to move on and spread her wings. She has been promised a job already at a rural bank where she did her work experience last year. So come June, we will be taking on a new working student. And courses pursued doesn’t necessarily have to be a college degree, it can also be for a high school diploma or a vocational one like hairdressing, beauty care, dressmaking, culinary arts, caregiving, etc.

    • says

      Hi Marilou – I’m really happy of what you and Jim were doing too. Yes, we don’t want them to be helpers forever. Yes, we are a truly believer of pay it forward. That’s what we had in mind when helping our nieces and nephews and the people that work for us.

      Good luck with your next worker. I’m sure she will be successful too.

      As always good to see you here. Take care & God bless!

  7. Mia R says

    I’ve maids that finished their HS and even had some college while with me. With HS, you could try the once a week, 6 month HS continuing ed by deped.

    My loyal helpers had this and my now helper is looking forward for this this year.

    • says

      Hi Mia R – Good for you. Yes it’s popular now with the helpers to go to school with the once a week class for high school and 2 days a week class usually for college. It’s a good feeling to help them and especially when they finish it and get a good job after.

      Good luck with your helper now.


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